Anti-IL-8 autoantibodies and complexes in rheumatoid arthritis: polyclonal activation in chronic synovial tissue inflammation

Rheumatol Int. 1999;18(4):141-5. doi: 10.1007/s002960050073.


The chemokine interleukin-8 (IL-8) is frequently associated with inflammatory diseases, and autoantibodies against IL-8 are present in the periphery at elevated levels in such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Circulating free anti-IL-8 IgG autoantibodies correlate with inflammatory parameters and disease severity in RA. In this study, correlations were sought between these disease parameters and other antibody subclasses. We assayed IgM, IgA and IgG anti-IL-8 antibodies and IL-8 immunoglobulin immune complexes in the serum of 29 healthy controls and 56 patients with defined RA, and compared the results with clinical and humoral disease parameters. IgG and IgM antibodies directed against IL-8 were present in all samples. In the disease groups, all isotypes of free anti-IL-8 antibodies correlated with increasing humoral disease parameters like CRP and CIC and their related anti-IL-8 immune complexes. Samples which contained high titers of anti-IL-8 antibody subclasses and complexes were RF subclass-positive, while IgM RF-negative sera showed low levels of anti-IL-8 and complexes. Detectable levels of IgG and IgA RF were found in all sera. Patients with extra-articular organ manifestation showed significantly increased free IgA and IgA/IL-8 complexes, with no correlation to the IgA RF titer or IgA hypergamma-globulinemia. The highest titers were seen in two RA cases with vasculitis and in one patient with colitis. Polyclonal activation of the humoral antibody system, which normally precedes the resolution of an inflammatory response, can itself lead to secondary stimulation of inflammatory processes via immune complex formation. In the immune pathology of RA, it degenerates into a persistent chronic inflammation accompanied by progressive joint destruction. The presence of elevated IgA subclass anti-IL-8 autoantibodies in RA patients with extra-articular manifestations suggests these autoantibodies as a clinically useful marker of disease severity and extra-articular manifestations.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / analysis*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Interleukin-8 / analysis
  • Interleukin-8 / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Reference Values
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Interleukin-8